Over a month ago, I previewed my first finished short story, Sadist Heels. Here it is in its entirety– I hope you enjoy it!
As an aside, Sadist Heels is also published over on Tablo, which can be found here. In terms of formatting, the Tablo one might be easier on the eyes!
I told the same tired old joke, and was rewarded with howls of laughter around the bar. More drinks came sliding my way, orders barked over the noisy din at the bartenders–
Another one for the lady! I’ll have what she’s having!
I looked around, weary, skimming the crowd over the tops of their heads; a lot of beanies in here, aren’t they hot? It must be something like 97 degrees in this joint.
Besides, where was my date? No missed calls, no texts, and at this point, he seems like a no-show. I silently vowed to never let Mother set me up on a blind date ever again… oh lordie, how pathetic.
I carefully extricated myself from the throng of half-inebriated patrons of the bar, struggling for a moment to slip my feet through the criss-crossing straps of my heels. Good grief, why do I wear these shoes? I call them my Sadist Heels, the only thing protecting me from tetanus at this fine establishment.
I squeezed past a freakishly tall head of long blonde hair on my way to the facilities, taking up way more space than is fair, texting. Excuse me miss, sorry. When I got to the unisex restroom, there was no line, thank goodness. I waited for a good 10 minutes, the arches of my feet groaning in protest more and more as each minute passed. Eventually, finally, a couple came staggering out, with a little white on the gentleman’s mustache. I did a 180, left the front of the long line that had since formed, and stepped out of the bar.
Wait! I think you left this! yelled a voice behind me.
I turned around. I watched as some dude calling after me with a little baggie pinched between his thumb and forefinger practically football-hurdles through the door, startling a little old bag lady in the process. And a couple pigeons. They squawked and flap-flapped away as I conducted a closer inspection; turns out Blondie At The Bar is actually Blondo Not At The Bar Anymore.
Yeah, that’s not mine.
Excellent, he said, pocketing the loot. By this time, he’d caught up to me on the sidewalk.
I continued walking. He matched my stride.
So, do you live around here?
I looked at him in annoyance. We were nearly two blocks out from Pasties’, and I was getting tired of having to talk to someone.
Look, I just really liked your jokes and I wanted to get some tips on performing for live audiences—
You’re a comic too? We can’t hook up or date, you know. Comedy is a small cesspool, you don’t want to be peeing where you drink.
Ok, I believe the expression is “don’t s— where you eat”, and who said I was interested in you?
I gave him my best side-eye. Inside, my brain was doing jumping jacks and other calisthenics.
Just kidding—look, I even left my jacket at the bar chasing after you. Also, my requisite beanie’s still on my seat. I don’t get why that seems to be the dress code there, that place is practically a sauna with a bar—
Are you done? I have a date to meet.
Way harsh. Just give me one more minute, I’ll walk you to wherever it is you’re meeting this Mystery Gentleman.
Silence. Footsteps crunching.
Yeah, ok, I get the whole “Comedy is a kiddie-pool and you don’t want to pee in it and end the party” thing, but—
I chuckled in spite of myself. That’s not what I said. Actually, I think it might be better, I’m going to use that from now on.
I charge royalties, I hope you know that. How would you like to be billed, by email or mail? Text message?
Nice try, buster—I turned, but he wasn’t there anymore.
Hey! Did you know I once got my head stuck between these bars? He waved me over from the park across the street. I debated walking away like I didn’t know him, but I figured at the very least I’d gain some funny material for my next sketch.
Yep, right here, that’s the spot, I’m sure of it. He did a little prance on the top level of the small jungle gym. I looked up at him from the ground below.
Come on up, sailor!
You try climbing up a rope net in these shoes.
He peered over the spinny-head thing of the playground. Hot damn, what are you, sadistic? pointing at my feet. I silently said a quick prayer to the God of Small Things that he wouldn’t notice the blisters starting to form. What are you waiting for, take ‘em off!
You got a fetish or something? No! I’ll get AIDS or something from this playground, do you know how many people have hooked up on this thing?! Still, I gingerly made my way up.
Nonsense! There are laws in this city.
I glared at his pant pocket.
Ok, point taken.
I got to the top as he said,
So you’re not an Ice Queen after all. Good to know.
Stranger things have happened, kid. Tell the story. We sat cross-legged in front of the bars.
Once upon a time, a charming young boy came to the park with his charming young nanny–
What? My nanny was super charming. Anyway, she let him loose on the jungle gym, mind you, back then these things were scorching, rusted metal death-traps. None of those safe rubber-polymer mixes they use nowadays. I was right in this spot, see in your mind’s eye a little boy enjoying the sunshine until whaddaya know, a dollar falls out of his overalls pocket. The slight breeze picks it up and slowly inches it closer to the metal bars… Next thing I know, my head is squeezed between two bars and my stubby little arm is outstretched, futilely, and the dollar bill rests on top of the woodchips below.
I chuckled at how animatedly he told his tale of caution. Encouraged by my response, he continued,
And to add insult to injury, this other kid saw my George Washington and ran off with it!! A whole friggin dollar was gone, and I cried out, small fists shaking: You little thief! Yes, I cried out, not when I got stuck, but when I was robbed. The injustice. And then yeah, my nanny finally looked up from her book to see her young charge red as a tomato, yelling obscenities and then shortly after the Fire Department of the Eleventh Precinct had to come and saw off one of the metal bars so I could get out. Ahh, childhood.
Seriously? All that trouble for a dollar?
Yup. He grinned; we sat in a comfortable silence, feet dangling from the metal, until he said–
Say, don’t you have someone you’re supposed to be meeting?
Oh hughie! I fumbled for my purse and my shoes. How ridiculous, I was scrambling to go “meet” with my date who never showed. He watched as I picked up my things and strapped on my heels (damn, he’d have seen the blisters for sure..) and waited till I was at the edge of the woodchip border before calling out,
Hello, I’m running late!
You know that baggie I came out of the bar with?
I knew from the start that it wasn’t yours… I picked it up off the bathroom floor.
I turned around and gave him my full attention. I also gripped my purse tighter and wrapped my fingers around my bottle of Mace. I should’ve known better than to trust a kind stranger who would voluntarily return half an 8-ball.
Also, my jacket and beanie, I didn’t leave them at the bar. In fact, I don’t even wear beanies.
Silence. More silence. A distant siren wails a few streets over.
I also know you don’t have a date you’re meeting at this hour. And that your date never showed at the bar.
I looked at him incredulously. What are you talking about?
Well, there was a guy there who was nervously checking his phone, I think he was meeting a chick there. Unfortunately, his blind date was way badass, cracking jokes and getting bought a million drinks at the bar, so he lost his nerve and didn’t approach her. For some reason, he thought it’d be a good idea to follow her out, take her to a park and tell her embarrassing childhood stories…
Wow. How transparent of you.
Eh, your mom said you weren’t easily impressed. Shrugs nonchalantly. Anyway. Proper first date this weekend? A couple band-mates and I gig at Pasties’ from time to time. I’ve always wanted a groupie, he grinned.
Oh, you’re a “musician”? Just when I was starting to think you were OK after all…
He snickered. Hey, I sat through one of your sets, you have to return the favor.
“Sat through?” I asked, with air quotes. Excuse you! We’d reached my doorstep, I knew my roommates were probably watching from the upstairs window, waiting to bombard me with questions about my date. This was a city with a notoriously bad dating scene, after all.
So. How do I reach you?
You better not stalk me even further than you already have by showing up on my doorstep. I found a pen in my purse, and took out a bill from my wallet.
In the end, homeboy got my number and his dollar back. And I got my date after all.